Pregnant mothers and expecting fathers, you may want to sit down for this.
Raising a child is 22 percent more costly than it was back in 1960, according to a study released recently by the USDA. Adjusted for 2009 dollars, middle-income parents in 1960 spent a total of $182,857 to raise one child through the age of 17. Today, parents spend $222,360.
What accounts for the jump? These days, parents spend more of their family's wealth on -- you guessed it -- their child's health care and education. As a percentage of total child-rearing expenditures, today's middle-income families spend approximately twice as much on health care as they did in 1960. And education and child care, which in 1960 accounted for just 2 percent of total child-rearing expenditures, now accounts for 17 percent.
The government's study surveyed 11,800 husband-wife families and 3,350 single-parent households. The average low-income household, researchers found, spends more than twice as much of their income than the average high-income household do. Low-income families (those with a before-tax income of less than $56,670) spend 25% of their income on raising children through age 17. High-income households (those with a before-tax income of more than $98,120) spend twice as much in absolute terms but average just 12% of their income on their children through age 17.
To prepare you for the lifetime costs of child-rearing, we've put together a breakdown of the expenses for raising just one child through the age of 17. (Note: we've taken all the below data from the cost projections for a middle-income husband-wife family with two children.)